Brunel design students to specialise in lighting

Brunel University in West London is offering undergraduate students of product and industrial design the chance to specialise in lighting.

Twenty students attended the university's lighting summer school

The new course options have been developed by the university’s School of Engineering and Design with the help of the Lighting Education Trust (LET), and are open to students on three of the university’s design courses. Lighting design firms including Hoare Lea, Arup and DPA are on board to offer work placements, and the university is seeking more companies to provide placements, including manufacturers.

A week-long summer school on lighting design was conducted for the first time last month for around 20 students at the end of their second year, who heard from speakers from Arup, DPA, Philips and MBW Lighting. Students then take up a placement in their third year before completing course modules and projects focusing on lighting in their final year.

They will have access to the LET’s learning materials for private study, and will get student membership of professional bodies SLL and ILP for their third and fourth years.

The first students to specialise in lighting design will graduate in 2014

The first students to complete their BSc degrees with a lighting focus will graduate in 2014.

A few dozen courses are available in the UK that touch on lighting, including some bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but most of these focus mainly on other areas such as architecture or stage design, with only a handful of science and engineering degree programmes covering lighting. As a result a lot of training is conducted by companies in-house or by the industry’s professional bodies.

Stephen Green heads up Brunel’s Designplus initiative, which aims to build relationships between businesses and universities in the area of design. He told Lux: ‘We’re all exceptionally aware of the need for graduates to be well matched to the needs of industry. One of the things that’s distincitive about what we do at Brunel is that we have very close links with industry. I saw this collaboration with the LET as an opportunity to enhance those links.’

Hugh Ogus of the LET, which is backed by numerous lighting manufacturers and industry bodies, said: ‘For the first time, people will come into the profession other than by chance. In two years from now we will have competent, pre-trained, employable graduates from the course at Brunel who are attractive to the lighting community as a whole, having undergone substantial exposure to lighting over the course of their studies.’

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